Staying in Germany (for the time being)

Well I guess it’s time for what has become my monthly update. To start off with several bits of exciting news. When we came to Munich in July with my company, the plan was to stay for 6 months then return to the US. But as I’m sure you’ve noticed from my blog posts, we have enjoyed our time so much over here that when my company offered us the chance to stay for another six months, we jumped on it – so we will be residents of Munich until mid-summer 2006! This will be a great chance for me to continue working with some great engineers at the Infineon headquarters, but Alisha is also taking full advantage of the opporunity and has gained a spot on a professional cycling team from Austria called Elk Haus. She has lots more info on her blog, so be sure to read up on that. She has quite a schedule already, including a month in Australia, a week in New Zealand, and 3 weeks in California, and that’s just through the end of March!

So for now, instead of recounting ad-nauseum one adventure or another that we’ve had, i’m just going to point out several new photo galleries that I’ve added or updated recently. I’ve written descriptions for each gallery, so I’ll just copy/paste those here too. Speaking of adventures, though, 2 galleries that are still missing are our Paris anniversary trip and a weekend trip I took to Prague last weekend. Beteween those two trips I have about 350 pictures, so I’ll have to figure out which ones I want to put online. So in the meantime, enjoy these!

  • Dachau – While Alisha’s parents were visiting, we visited the Nazi work camp in Dachau on a gray, cold Sunday afternoon, just northwest of Munich. They have preserved much of the camp and turned the main building into a museum chronicling the rise of Hitler and the Nazi’s after the end of WWI through WWII, the work and concentration camps, the DSC03930liberation of camps by American forces and the beginnings of the Nuremberg trials where senior officials were put on trial for their crimes.The museum was filled with chilling pictures and reports from the atrocities that occurred in the camp and throughout the rest of Germany and the conquered territories. Dachau was the first labor camp for the Nazi party and served as a model for the rest of DSC03927them – which when including the smaller and subsidiary camps, numbered in the thousands. Keep in mind, though, that while thousands of people died at Dachau, it was not a concentration camp where people were sent specifically for death.There are several pictures of the city of Munich, which was the Third Reich’s first headquarters, before they moved to Berlin. You can see a picture of a tall gothic looking building with a giant swastika flag draped off of the front. That is the Munich Rathaus, or City Hall. That building is only about 4 blocks from our apartment and is now at the heart of the tourist district in downtown Munich. Germany and Munich have come a long way since those days, though, and while you can find museums and memorials all over the country commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, the country and its citizens are one of the more progressive and forward thinking populations in the world.
  • Ostpark Lauf – Quez, Alisha’s dad, and I took the occasion to join Alisha as international athletes by entering the Ostpark Lauf (East park race) on a very cold Saturday morning in late November. Alisha and her dad bravely entered the 10km race, but I opted for the 5k. Of course, I think their average paces were still faster than mine, but you’ll never know because this is one 5k time that I’m not going to publish! ;)It was fun though, if you call running 3-6 miles in below 0 weather (below 0 Celsius, that is….). Of course, I used to consider running 4 times as far every day “fun” too, but that was many moons ago.
  • Olympic Park – While Alisha’s parents were visiting we took them up to see the Olympic Park, which I’ve mentioned a couple times in my blog posts. Where the park sits now was actually a big pile of rubbish just after WWII – this is where they dumped all the DSC03860concrete and debris from the war cleanup. Before the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, though, they decided to cover the debris with dirt and grass and turn the place into a park.Most of the pictures in this album were taken from atop the Olympic Tower which overlooks the park and the city. On a clear day you can see into the Alps, but unfortunately for us it was so foggy we could barely see to the center of the city. You can get a view of the top of the famous roof though – a single connected roof structure that spans all the major venues in the whole park.Any runners among you may be interested to know that the stadium in the pictures is DSC03873where the famous 5km race occurred between American superstar Steve Prefontaine and the giant Finn Lasse Viren in the ’72 Olympics (pictured above – Viren #228 and Prefontainte directly behind with the killer ‘stache).You will also see a couple shots of the marble memorial in front of the park commemorating the 11 Israeli athletes and 2 German officers killed by Palestinian terrorists during the games. You can see the athlete’s dorms that you may recognize from some of the TV footage, also shown in more recent movies like “Pre”. This incident is also the subject of the new Spielburg film titled “Munich”.
  • Lindau Bodensee – On our 1 year anniversary weekend in late October we took a DSC03208quick trip to Lindau in southwest Germany, an island town on the Bodensee (lake). It’s a small, touristy town, and late October is not very busy for other tourists so we had the place to ourselves.The highlight of the weekend was a “4 countries ride” we did on Saturday, riding through 4 countries and making 5 border crossings. We set off from Lindau in Germany, crossed over into Austria for a while, zipped all the way through the tiny country of Liechtenstein into Switzerland, rode back up to the Bodensee, around to Austria, then back into Germany to finish. It was a fun ride with beautiful fall scenery. Even though we came to Lindau for on our Anniversary weekend, the “real” anniversary was the next weekend when we went to Paris – check out the other albums for that trip!
  • Neuschwanstein Schloss – I made a trip with Alisha’s parents to the world famous Neuschwanstein castle, a couple hours south-west of Munich. Americans and other people around the world may be very familiar with the Neuschwanstein without even DSC04017knowing it – it is the castle that Disney’s Magic Kingdom castle is modeled after!Even though the Neuschwanstein looks like an old medieval castle, it was actually built only 130 years ago by the flamboyant Bavarian king Ludwig II. Even after nearly bankrupting Bavaria with several projects as extravagant as the Neuschwanstein and being declared mentally unfit for rule by the country’s parliament, then drowning in a mysterious incident in the Starnbergsee near Munich, Ludwig II is apparently still the Bavarian and German peoples most popular king. The Neuschwanstein was Ludwig’s masterpiece, but he also commissioned and built The Residence in Munich and the castle Herrenchiemsee. Some of the pictures show a much smaller, yellow castle just down the hill from the Newschwanstein, right beside the Schwansee (Swan Lake), in fact. This was Ludwig’s Father’s castle, the Hohenschwangau. DSC03989As you can see, it was snowing heavily on our trip, making travel to and from the castle gate somewhat treacherous. The guided tour we went on was somewhat disappointing in that we only saw 6-8 rooms. What’s less, pictures were “not allowed” inside, so the few shots from inside were hastily taken while the guide wasn’t looking. The castle exterior and how it is set into the rocky alps, overlooking Swan Lake and the alps on one side and the plains of Southern Germany on the other is magnificent.

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